A research programme has been formulated and is being prosecuted to provide information to assist with the development and management of the fishery resources. In this programme, work is being done on snapper and tarakihi to determine their habits and life history, growth rate and natural mortality, as well as to assess the effect of fishing on the various populations. Considerable numbers of snapper and tarakihi have been tagged but recoveries have been rather disappointing, although returns are sufficient to indicate the principal migrations and to confirm growth rates determined by other methods. Similar work has been done on flatfish populations in Lake Ellesmere, Tasman Bay, and on the east coast of the South Island. A comprehensive study of crayfish, to elucidate their habits, life history, growth rates, mortality, and effects of fishing is under way, and similar work is being done on elephant fish. Work on shellfish, other than oysters, has so far been confined to studies of the composition and density of the various populations.
At present, an extensive biological survey of the Foveaux Strait oysters is under way. With respect to whales, work has been confined to tagging whales on the northward and southward migration and to studying the age composition of the catches of the whaling stations. This research has now ceased.
The occurrence of tuna in New Zealand waters is also receiving attention with a view to determining whether the fishing and canning of tuna could be developed in New Zealand.